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Managed Chaos
Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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“Investing in Innovation” is Absolutely Overrated!

Invest today in Innovation to ensure you’ll thrive long-term. Else be prepared to get wiped out!

I’m sick and tired of hearing such lame advice from people.

I don’t know of any company where they were struggling. So they “invested” in “innovation” and suddenly started building great products.

It’s like saying:

30-mins of daily Meditation (alone) will make you more creative!

Sorry you need to practice your art to sharpen your creativity. Meditation can certainly help, but not the essential ingredient for creativity.

Important thing to note is, one cannot treat innovation as a separate thing in which they can “invest” to reap benefit downstream.

Thinking of innovation as an independent entity, separate from the work itself and the culture/context in which the work is done, is fundamentally wrong IMHO.

One has to experiment and try new approaches. You cannot do your work the same old way and set some time aside for innovation. I’ve not seen that work.

In my view of the world, innovation is part of how you think and operate. To some extent its the nature of people and organizations. Its part of your work and the culture of your organization. In fact, innovation is inherent aspect of many businesses. One cannot bring innovation from outside.  Hence one cannot invest in innovation.

“Invest in Innovation” is like saying “Invest in Learning.”

If you are not learning while doing your daily job and thinking of investing time outside your job to learn, then you are in trouble. Either develop the attitude to learn on the job or find a job where learning is inherent part of your job, not something you do in the side.

If you are learning on the job and want to invest additional time to pick up new skills that’s great. But learning on the job is a pre-requisite.

Innovative thinking should be an integral part of your job and your company’s culture, not something you invest after the fact.

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